HE'S the man Britney Spears confided in during her darkest days. He was at her side during her very public meltdown and was the friend at the end of the phone as she dramatically shaved her scalp and then finally sought refuge in rehab. Now Grease Is The Word judge Brian Friedman reveals how the pop star is slowly pulling herself back together - and is about to make the biggest comeback of her career. In an exclusive interview for The Mirror he tells fans no longer need to worry about the troubled pop star. Instead she has finally "taken control" of her issues. These include ditching husband Kevin Federline who she reportedly describes as "the biggest mistake" she ever made. And Brian doesn't rule out her getting back together with first famous love Justin Timberlake.
"Every decision she's made in the past month has been positive," says Brian, who was with her last week as she recorded tracks for her next album.
"I'm not just talking about going to rehab. More than that. Her life is going in a very positive direction."
This year has seen Britney, 25, plummet to untold depths. After her split from Kevin, 29, in November, the mum-of-two launched a one-woman mission to destruction. Barely a day went by when the bleary-eyed star wasn't seen staggering from a nightclub - occasionally with party girl Paris Hilton on her arm - and often without any knickers. But it wasn't until February that she appeared to have finally lost it. One Friday night she strode into an LA barber's snatched some clippers and shaved off her famous blonde locks. Within days she had checked into the Promises rehab clinic, only to check out then go back in again. Brian, who is Britney's choreographer, wasn't with the singer on the night she attacked her hair - but reckons he might have put the idea in her head. He had his head shaved weeks before her. He says: "I had it cut off just before Britney. I've heard I was her inspiration.
"I was having a young middle aged crisis.
As a dancer and choreographer I was always noticed. But after the last season of So You Think You Can Dance? on TV in the States I started getting noticed every day.
"When I did it people couldn't recognise me. It was a bold decision but one of the best I've made in years. I felt free."
And when he saw Brit later he was impressed by the results. He feels it's all a positive step.
"It takes a lot of courage for a woman to go without hair and people who have done it, I feel, are great role models," Brian, 29, says. "I'm a big fan of the shaved-head woman. I hope it's the new trend."
Britney's new look - currently covered by a series of wigs - will no doubt feature in her career relaunch.
"I've worked with her over the last couple of months in the studio on stuff with new music," Brian confides. "It's all very top secret. Will her new image involve her showing off her shaved head? We'll see. It's definitely going to be a change."
Britney has been looking better lately. The star, who has two children - Sean Preston, one-and-a-half, and Jayden James, seven months, from her relationship with Kevin - showed off a svelte figure while on a shopping trip last week All that's left now is for her to get her love life back on track. And Brian believes she could return to the big love of her life - the man many believe she has never stopped caring for - megastar Justin Timberlake.
Brian, who's worked with Justin and hangs out with him socially, says: "I'd never rule anything out. They made a cute couple. I'm not going to try to be their matchmaker though."
Brian and Brit met eight years ago. He remembers: "My friend who was dancing with her was hanging out at her hotel in LA and I went over to pick him up. I just met her in the doorway of her room and she was extremely sweet."
Brian soon became one of Britney's professional dancers and their friendship grew. Viewers of ITV's Grease may have noticed a bling ring that Brian wears on his pinkie. It was a gift from Britney. She has a matching one.
"She was wearing her ring and we were packing up some jewellery that was in the room to take back to Cartier and she put that one on my finger and let me have it," he smiles. "We were twins for the night. She's very thoughtful."
When Brian became a choreographer, Brit hired him to work on her sexiest videos. In I'm A Slave 4 U she writhes around with next to nothing on, panting at the screen. Brian is credited as the man who sexed Britney up.
"We started really tapping into who she wanted to be," Brian says. "We sexed her up. She was ready for it. It's me licking her face in that video."
Brian, has been a professional dancer since he was 12. His dance teacher mother quit her job and moved from Arizona, to LA to help him launch his career. He has worked with Beyonce, Prince, and Pink and on some of the most memorable videos, including Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice which starred Christopher Walken. Brian was his dance double.
But it's his experience on Grease that has shocked him the most. In short, he thinks British men suck at dancing. "British men can't dance," Brian laughs. "I think it's a rhythm issue.
"The saying goes that you can tell from a way man dances if he's good in bed. And I think it goes for women too: men and women without rhythm - stay away from them. They shouldn't be having any sex."
Tonight we see the last cull as the musical hopefuls are whittled down to the final few potential Dannys and Sandys. And Brian knows exactly what he's looking for.
"I want to see people who can get through rehearsals and listen to direction," he says. "It's much more than just being a good singer. I'm looking for the whole package."
Brian is also about to launch his own dancewear clothing range in the States. He already has a shoe line called B Free Elite. On top of this there are rumours he will complete Simon Cowell's line-up of judges on the next X Factor.
"I heard those rumours too," he says coyly. "I honestly love everything Simon says."
But behind the scenes, Brian will continue to do what he does best - being a dependable friend to one of the world's biggest pop stars as she begins the next stage of her life.
"She's a strong woman and I'm sure she'll do what's best," Brian says. "I'm proud of her for taking control."
Source: The Mirror